Bigard celebrates her Monsignors and Jubilarians

On Saturday, 20th January, 2018, Bigard Memorial Seminary rolled out her drums as she received and celebrated four of her Formators. The occasion which brought together people from different works of life, was a thanksgiving event in honour of Frs. Donatus Ogudo and Anthony Eze, who were raised to the rank of Monsignors on June 25, 2016, both from the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka; and Frs. Francis Igbanugo and Johnbosco okoye, who celebrated the Silver Jubilee of their Priestly ordination on July 10, 2017, both from the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha.
The momentous event started with a Holy Mass presided over by Rev. Msgr. Donatus Ogudo; flanked by Msgr. Anthony Eze, and the two Jubilarians, Frs. Igbanugo and Okoye. As the Bigard main Chapel was filled to the brim with all Formators of Bigard concelebrating in the Mass, and all Bigard Seminarians, friends and well-wishers gracefully present, the Principal Celebrant recounted the blessings of God in the lives of the Celebrants of the day and invited all to always keep them in Prayers as the Priesthood presents more tasks and responsibilities as one advances in it.
In the homily, Rev. Fr. Dr. Sylvanus Nnoruka, one of Bigard’s Formators described the occasion of the day as a manifestation of God’s favour on those who have unreserved trust in Him. The homilist explained that the call to the Catholic Priesthood is a call into an unending intimate friendship with Christ who assured his apostles thus in Jn 15:15 “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my father.” Fr. Nnoruka admonished the celebrants to remain steadfast in their relationship with Christ, hence, he encouraged them never to disappoint or betray Christ who has sustained them thus far in his vineyard
In the cause of the homily, the Associate professor, Fr. Nnoruka gave brief profiles of the celebrants to the hearing of all;
– MONSIGNOR DONATUS OGUDO – He was ordained a Priest on April 13, 1975. He served as the Diocesan Secretary in Enugu diocese, and served as a Parish Priest in several Parishes. He obtained his Ph.D in Sacred Theology in Rome, and once served as the Vice Rector II in Bigard. Currently, he is the Chief Liturgist and the Commander of the Men of Order and Discipline, as well as a Lecturer in Sacred Liturgy, all in Bigard.
– MONSIGNOR ANTHONY EZE – He was ordained a priest on July 8, 1978, served as Assistant Parish Priest in a parish before his appointment as the Vice Rector of St. John Cross Minor Seminary Nsukka. He obtained his B.A in Psychology, M.A in Counceling Psychology, and Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, all in the United States of America. Currently, he is a Spiritual Director and a Psychologist to Seminarians, as well as a lecturer in Human Development, Pastoral Counseling, and Introduction to Psychology, all in Bigard.
– FR. DR. FRANCIS IGBANUGO – He was ordained a priest on July 10, 1992. He served as a Parish Priest in two parishes. He obtained his Licentiate and Ph.D in Biblicum in Rome. Currently, he is the Vice Rector I, Lecturer in Fundamental Scripture, Biblical Hebrew, and New Testament Exegesis, as well as the moderator of African Thoughts and Culture, all in Bigard.
– FR. JOHNBOSCO OKOYE – He was ordained a priest on July 10, 1992. He served as a Parish priest in several parishes in his Diocese, and currently, he is a Spiritual Director, the Chaplain of the Seminary Domestic Staff and a Lecturer in Spiritual Theology in Bigard.

After the Eucharistic Celebration, the procession of minor ministers, deacons, priests and the Celebrants led through the central aisle to the front of Bigard main Chapel for photoshots, after which the rest of the day’s occasion continued in the seminary auditorium.
The Opening prayer to the reception was said by one of Bigard’s Spriritual Directors, Rev. Fr. Hygienus Mba, after which the customary presentation of colanuts by the Rector followed. In his address, the Rector of Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Okechukwu Ikpenwa expressed his thankfulness to the Almighty God who sustains the Seminary, and whose Will it was to bless Bigard with Men of Substance whom the Seminary shares in their joy. He thanked the celebrants for their doggedness and tenacity towards the good and welfare of the Seminary in their various significant capacities. The Moral Theologian also expressed his sentiment of gratitude to the College of Formators, Seminarians and Friends of the seminary for honouring the event with their presence. In appreciation, the Rector on behalf of the Bigard Family presented gifts to the Celebrants as he encouraged them to continue being faithful in their services to God, humanity, as well as to the seminary.
After the rector’s address, the President of the Students’ Council, Mr. Okon Ignatius rendered an address on behalf of the seminarians of Bigard. In his address, he prayed for God’s blessing upon the seminary and on the Celebrants. He seized the opportunity also to present gifts to the celebrants from the student body.
The atmosphere of the occasion was enthused with a number of social displays such as; choral rendition by the Bigard Main Choir, Solo Guitar presentation by Rev. Bartholomew Ezeokafor, and Ojianyalele Cultural Dance by Abakaliki Diocesan Seminarians. The Occassion also featured the presentation of gifts to the Celebrants from Dioceses, Classes, Houses, Departments/Offices, Domestic Staff with Fr. Johnbosco Okoye as the Chaplain, African Thoughts and Culture Society Bigard Chapter (ATC) with Fr. Francis Igboanugo (Ichie Ozioma 1 of Bigard) as the moderator, and Men of Order and Discipline (MOD) with Rev. Msgr. Donatus Ogudo as the commander.
After the presentation of gifts, Rev. Fr. Dr. Miletus Ossai, the Vice Rector II of Bigard gave the vote of thanks, in which he thanked all those we graced the occasion with the presence, and also prayed for more blessings on the Celebrants. With the closing prayer said by Rev. Fr. Dr. Raphael Egwu, one of Bigard’s Spiritual Directors, the occasion was brought to a successful end.

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